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Meadow katydids – the small ones

Meadow katydids are often in the meadows, but they can also be found in wetlands and shrubby edge habitats as well. There are two genera: Conocephalus and Orchelimum.

Conocephalus

These are small meadow katydids that range in size between ½” and 1’ Some of this length may be the wings if their wings are long. Other species have wings that are considerably shorter than their abdomens. The female’s ovipositor is generally straight, although it may be angled up a little. In some species such as the Straight-lanced Meadow Katydid and the Long-tailed Meadow Katydid, the ovipositor can be quite long.

Their songs are light, very high, and often difficult to hear for many of us. The majority of these katydids sing in the afternoon as well as the evening. The most common are the Short-winged and the Slender Meadow Katydids. NE Ohio’s Conocephalus meadow katydids are:

            Short-winged Meadow Katydid

           Slender Meadow Katydid

           Straight-lanced Meadow Katydid

           Black-sided Meadow Katydid

           Long-tailed Meadow Katydid

Orchelimum

Orchelimum meadow katydids are a little larger and more substantial, and the males have louder songs that are easier for us to hear. Their wings always extend at least the length of their abdomens and can be longer. Males generally have bright yellow cerci that contrast with their rich green or blue-green abdomens. Females typically have curved ovipositors

Black-legged Meadow Katydid

Gladiator Meadow Katydid

Common Meadow Katydid

Dusky-faced Meadow Katydid

(uncommon wetland resident)

The two Orchelimum meadow katydids you'll want to be able to separate by ear are the Gladiator and the Black-legged. The Gladiators are finishing at about the time the first Black-leggeds reach maturity. Occasionally, there is a little overlap, and the two species can share similar habitats.

 

The Common Meadow Katydid is less likely to be in the same habitat as the Gladiator and they are not as common, in spite of their name.

Here is a recording that compares the Gladiator and the Black-legged, You will not confuse them visually because the Black-legged is so colorful.

Gladiator Meadow Katydid and Black-legged Meadow Katydid comparison - Recording by Lisa Rainsong
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Gladiator Meadow Katydid
Black-legged Meadow Katydid